Brussels, 8 September 2022

On the 8th of September, FEPORT attended the SEArica organized event on the Maritime Dimension of the TEN-T. The event was hosted by MEP Jan-Christoph Oetjen (Renew Europe, Germany), SEArica Vice-Chair for Maritime Transport and the North Sea, and organised with the support of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR).

In his keynote speech, Kurt Bodewig underlined the importance of the modal shift to short sea shipping. To achieve this, also ports and hinterland connectivity should be supported. EU Ports, he stressed, should also be able to receive support in case they collaborate with ports in third countries.

During the Stakeholders Panel, Ms. Anne-Rieke Stuhlman, who represented the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO), proposed a different way to look at TEN-T recognition; in her view, not only transport volumes, but also a port’s geopolitical position, its role regarding cohesion and its contribution to the energy transition should be taken into account when deciding on  a port’s recognition as a TEN-T one.

Furthermore, she suggested to introduce a definition of “rail port network” in the TEN-T regulation, i.e., a part of the rail network that directly links to the port and where different rules apply as compared to the general rail network, for example when it comes to line speed or train length.

MEP Isabel GarcÍa Muñoz (S&D, Spain), one of the co-rapporteurs on TEN-T, reiterated in her reaction to the panellists that the maritime dimension of TEN-T is crucial for the European Parliament due to its impact on employment and the role it plays in facilitating EU imports and intra-EU traffic. Moreover, she explained her increasing awareness of the geopolitical importance of ports, pointing to the war in Ukraine, where the forced shutdown of a number of ports has caused severe issues for European and global supply chains. In view of the importance of the maritime and port sectors, MEP García Muñoz wants to request more funding for transport under CEF 2021-2027.